24 May 2013

Council blocks extension of feedback time

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Written by: Bernard Orsman
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 24 May 2013
20130523 Council blocks extension of feedback timeThe Auckland Council has voted against extending feedback on a new planning rulebook for the city, which has drawn thousands of people to public meetings and provoked a citywide reaction.

Feedback on the rulebook – or Unitary Plan – closes next Friday. So far about 3000 responses have been received.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse yesterday said the document was a “draft, draft plan” that would be reshaped following 11 weeks of feedback. Auckland Mayor Len Brown has also signalled changes following a chorus of complaints against apartments and infill housing.

The political leadership mustered the numbers yesterday to defeat a motion by George Wood to extend public feedback by 15 days. The motion was defeated by 10 votes to seven.

Last night, Mr Brown refused to release secret documents used to draw up the mixed housing and terraced housing and apartment zones which have met huge opposition. The Herald requested the documents from Mr Brown to inform the public before feedback closes.

A response from information adviser Blair Doherty said the political working party made no formal decisions and no formal minutes were kept. Because it was still meeting, group members and officers should be able to express opinions and discuss options freely, he said.

After nine weeks of telling Aucklanders the maximum height for “small-scale apartment buildings” in the mixed housing zone was two storeys, the council admitted last week it was three storeys.

The intensification plans for residential Auckland saw the creation of a new lobby group, Auckland 2040, which joined forces with the Character Coalition, comprising 58 heritage and community groups. The two lobby groups have released changes they would like made.

They want the council to reconsider the growth figures of an extra one million people over the next 30 years, believing they are too high and that urban land for intensification and “greenfield” land for new housing should be released in a staged manner.

They want less land zoned for apartments, a new infill zone for one and two-storey buildings, stronger development controls and more community input.

Click here to help or Support the Character Coalition


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